Greenwich Maps

“We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.” (Speech in the House of Commons, 4 June 1940)

“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” (Tribute to the skill and courage of British airmen in the recent battle as delivered in the House of Commons, 20 August 1940)

Woolwich is the traditional home of the Royal Artillery and former premier munitions centre in the Royal Dockyard. Displays in the Royal Artillery Museum, now located within the Royal Dockyard, are enlivened by RA ceremonies, presentations, demonstrations and celebrations of key events.

Family Sailing on the London River

Becky, the family sail-boat, entering the South Dock, Rotherhithe, after her annual cruise to the East Coast, Solent and Normandy.

Greenwich Maps Photo Gallery

Greenwich our Home

In 1963 the Tempest family settled in Greenwich close to the River and the Park and, apart from three assignments abroad, we – myself, my wife Jennifer, and our children Stephen, Clare and Susie – have stayed in the area ever since.

Betwen 1972 and 1976 we helped set up the London River Commuter Association to support the new commuter services between Greenwich, Tower Pier and Westminster and this led to a continuing dialogue with the Port of London Authority, the Greater London Council and various Government departments.

In 1992-2004 we kept our boat in commission each winter in the South Dock at Rotherhithe, day-sailing through each winter between Tower Bridge and the Barrier and in summer taking a mooring on the Medway opposite Upnor Castle or on the Crouch at Burnham. Family summer holidays began and ended with calls at Ramsgate and Boulogne before cruising down the Normandy coast or to the Solent.

This blog is dedicated to our three grandchildren Amy (bom 2000) Jo (bom 2003) Jake (bom 2012)

One thing stood out between my friends and me at school – summer holidays. While my friends jetted off to exotic shores in Greece and what was then known as Yugoslavia, I was often to be found barricaded in harbour at Portsmouth waiting for the tail end of a hurricane to pass, I wondered what I had done to deserve such hardship.

Every year, as I returned to school in September, my friends would be glowing with Mediterranean tans and stories of Greek waiters who had promised them the world. And all I could offer were stories of rats in Cherbourg marina and, if I was lucky, the odd glance from an Adonis at Cowes Week.

Now the tables have turned. As I sit loosely chained to my desk in the City, Mum, Dad and Stephen tease me with their latest experiences of supper at Chez Jules in Boulogne or dodging between the giant ships in the Solent during the Admiral’s Cup. And all I can think of is escaping at the weekends on Becky and how to get the best sailing out of what feels like a very short summer.

It was Tuesday, 11 September 2001 and Dad had managed to fit in the last proper sail of the summer – from Chatham Dockyard and home to Rotherhithe. I was at work and had been jealous, knowing that I would have to wait until Spring 2002 to sail the English Channel again. The news of the terrorist attacks in the US broke in the early afternoon. Work became irrelevant and my colleagues and I scrabbled for every scrap of information and tried to make sense of these inhuman acts. I tried desperately to get hold of Dad and even when I finally relayed the terrible news, I could not express the enormity of what had just happened. Now, only two weeks after the attacks, I feel comfort that for a few hours my father, sailing up Old Father Thames, was blissfully unaware of the events that had changed the world. Let us hope that London remains free of such a calamity.

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